United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Officer Dominique Pettinato,  Senior Parole Officer Linda
Jefferies, Police Officer Noel D'Amico, and Police
Lieutenant Michael Doyle moved for summary judgment on
pro se plaintiff Theadore Black's claims of
illegal search, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and
conspiracy to violate constitutional rights arising out of a
search of his home in 2015. As explained below,
defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted.
following facts are undisputed, unless otherwise noted.
Plaintiff was released to parole supervision in July 2015
after serving four years' imprisonment for two counts of
criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. As a
parolee, plaintiff was subject to certain general conditions,
including that he permit his parole officer to visit him at
his residence and to inspect his person, residence, and
property, and that he was forbidden from owning or possessing
a deadly weapon or “any dangerous knife.” The
apartment where the search at issue took place was
plaintiff's approved parole residence. Parole Officer
Pettinato visited this residence in July, August, and
search in question occurred on September 29, 2015, at
approximately 9:45 p.m. New York State Parole Officer
Pettinato and other parole officers, including Senior Parole
Officer Denise Granum (who is not a party to this suit), went
to plaintiff's apartment building, accompanied by members
of the New York Police Department, including Lieutenant
Michael Doyle and Officer Noel D'Amico. The parole
officers entered plaintiff's apartment and searched it.
The parties disagree about the police officers' role in
the search - plaintiff alleges that they also entered the
apartment and assisted with the search, while defendants
claim that they remained outside.
the search, Parole Officer Pettinato discovered a backpack in
a hallway closet located in a common area of the apartment.
Along with the backpack, the closet contained several boxes
with plaintiff's name written on them and men's shoe
boxes. The backpack contained a metal knuckle knife, three
other knives that appeared to Parole Officer Pettinato to be
gravity knives, and four photographs, three of which depicted
plaintiff and one of which depicted plaintiff's
ex-girlfriend. The parole officers and plaintiff dispute
whether plaintiff admitted that the backpack was his when the
parole officers found it. However, in his 50-h testimony,
plaintiff admitted that the knives belonged to him.
was taken into custody and was eventually charged with seven
violations of his conditions of parole, including possession
of the knives. He was also charged in a criminal-court
complaint with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon
in the fourth degree.
Officer Pettinato prepared the report to initiate
parole-revocation proceedings; Senior Parole Officer
Jefferies approved it.
presented the case against plaintiff at a preliminary
revocation hearing on October 13, 2015. After that hearing,
the parole board concluded that there was probable cause to
believe that plaintiff had violated his conditions of parole.
final revocation hearing, plaintiff pleaded guilty to one
violation of his parole conditions - failure to report
law-enforcement contact - in exchange for the District
Attorney withdrawing all of the other charges in the parole
warrant. Plaintiff was sentenced to 13 months'
imprisonment for the violation, with credit for time served
while his parole-revocation proceeding was pending. The
criminal charges against plaintiff were eventually dismissed
as facially insufficient pursuant to New York Criminal
Procedure Law § 170.30(1)(a).
then brought this suit against parole officers Pettinato and
Jefferies and police officers D'Amico and Doyle, alleging
unlawful entry and search, false arrest, malicious
prosecution, and conspiracy to violate constitutional
rights. Defendants moved for summary judgment on
initial matter, plaintiff may only assert his own
constitutional rights. A litigant generally does not have
standing to assert the constitutional rights of others.
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975). A
“1983 civil rights action is a personal suit and may
not be brought by a relative, even the parents, spouse or
children of the individual whose civil rights were
violated.” Gray-Davis v. Rigby, No.
5:14-CV-1490, 2016 WL 1298131, at *7 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 31,
2016), appeal dismissed (June 13, 2016) (quoting
Barrett v. United States, 622 F.Supp. 574, 591
(S.D.N.Y. 1985)). To the extent plaintiff asserts
constitutional claims on behalf of his wife or child, those
are not actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and are
plaintiff's illegal-search claims, defendant parole
officers' primary argument is that their search of
plaintiff's apartment did not violate the Fourth
Amendment because it was rationally and reasonably related to
their duties as parole officers, and therefore satisfied the
standard articulated by the New York Court of Appeals in
People v. Huntley, 43 N.Y.2d 175, 401 N.Y.S.2d 31
(1977). Defendant police officers echo this argument, and add
that, even if they and searched entered plaintiff's home
as plaintiff claims (which they dispute), their presence or
assistance would not have rendered unlawful the parole
officers' otherwise lawful search. All four defendants
also argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity,
because, after the Supreme Court's post-Huntley
decision in Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843
(2006), it is not clearly established that a New York parole
officer must have reasonable suspicion to search a
Constitutionality of the Search under Huntley's
“Rationally and ...